Whole 30: Days 1-10

April 17, 2013

On my March road trip to the U.P. I was able to catch up with my sisters. I really like them! One is an athletic badass, and the other is a health and business badass, and they are both tall hotties (shrimpy over here would like some of that height). As I've written about before, my family has a boatload of food allergies. Last month my sisters were bragging about feeling really great, thanks to avoiding gluten and a whole bunch of other fun things. My general approach is to eat gluten in small doses, although it generally makes me tired and puffy-faced. But pizza! And Surly beer! It would be wrong to give these things up 100% of the time, right?

My sisters each did a Whole30-- 30 days of Paleo eating where you avoid grains, dairy, alcohol, sugar, and anything else you might truly care about (except coffee-- THANK YOU PEOPLE). My body had been taking a bit of a stress-induced beating, so I decided to hop onboard the Whole 30 wagon. 11 days later, and I'm still alive. For real.

There are people who write a lot about planning and eating Paleo-- google and you'll find a boatload-- so I won't go into much detail on that front. The guidelines are very doable if you menu plan, and if you're ok giving up your social life for a month. It's actually not too far from how we normally eat-- lots of veggies, eggs, fish, and meat. Sure, I do gaze a bit jealously at Ben's beer. But it's fine.

Do I feel amazing? I feel good. But I'm waiting until day 30 to come to any real Paleo opinions. Here's what I know, though: the best part of this has been making the time to cook myself really good food three times a day. It sounds simple. Maybe you're great about eating consistent meals, but I'm not. And I'm certainly not great about eating meals in a calm environment like the program suggests. In fact, it's crazy challenging for me. I'm so much more likely to shovel lunch in while driving, or at my desk (dinner I'm better about). On the Whole30 you have to eat at least 3 meals a day, and you are supposed to eat breakfast first thing-- not at 10:30 after you realize you're starving. It takes a good amount of preparation. But let me tell you-- cooking for yourself is a pretty fabulous way of practicing self care. 3 times a day! Whole30 or not, I think it's a good plan. 

As you can see, I haven't been suffering: this food is pretty and delicious. Most of these recipes have been coming from Well Fed and It Starts With Food. Thanks also to Kathleen and Katie for their great Paleo eating suggestions. Perhaps the best thing I've eaten was a Ben discovery- gyro meat!  Ben got a craving for gyros one night and did some research. Here's what he came up with. On the Whole30 you can substitute Italian Dressing (recipe from Well Fed) for yogurt, and still make a cucumber sauce (add mint, cumin, lemon, garlic, and paprika to taste). It's delicious. And if you're not eating Paleo, stick the meat in a pita! 

Ben's Gyro Meat
(adapted from an unremembered internet source)

3/4 pound beef
3/4 pound lamb
1 onion
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground rosemary
3 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Food process the onion until it's finely diced. Take it out and dump it on a paper towel to wring out the excess water.
2. Put the onion back in the food processer with the herbs, meat, and salt. Process until it's well mixed- this will take a few minutes.
3. Put a 1/2 inch of water in a metal sheet pan (or cookie sheet with sides). Place a 10 x 15" glass dish inside the metal pan, so that the water surrounds the glass pan. Spread the meat mixture in a layer inside the glass pan. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

[Food photos (starting at the top): Homemade olive oil mayo/ coconut flakes with roasted almonds; gyro meat with roasted squash, italian dressing and kale; spinach salad with roasted almonds; brussel sprout hash and basted eggs; lunch plate with chicken sausage and Genna's homemade mustard; salmon cakes and spaghetti squash; whipped coconut milk over strawberries and mangos with toasted almonds and caramelized coconut chips.]


  1. omg...GYRO MEAT!? yum! can't wait to hear about how things go for you this month. stay strong! :)

    1. Katie - the Gyro Meat is SO good. It's like I've never eaten Gyro Meat before!

    2. Thanks for the support, Katie! I'm still feeling surprisingly enthusiastic about the month. Even without Surly...



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